Eleven years after a stranger savagely beat him with a pool stick outside a bar and left him for dead, Travis Thetford crossed the NMU commencement stage in his wheelchair Dec. 15 to accept his diploma. The former star athlete at Escanaba High School suffered a traumatic brain injury and left-side paralysis in the wake of the attack. He has since inspired many with his perseverance and positive attitude in tackling adversity.
Northern Michigan University’s bachelor of science degree in applied workplace leadership received the 2018 Innovation in Transfer Award today at the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (MACRAO) annual conference in Frankenmuth. The online program enables individuals holding an associate of applied science degree from any community college to ladder to a bachelor’s degree that will qualify them for management positions.
The NMU Public Safety Institute conducts annual training for evidence technicians, alternating between an intensive two-week basic course one year and a series of two-day refreshers the next. The refreshers being held on campus this month focus on death investigations because the institute partnered with NMU’s Forensic Research Outdoor Station (FROST) and Forensic Anthropology Research Laboratory. Both locations offer hands-on training to complement the classroom instruction provided with support from the Michigan State Police.
NMU Psychological Science Professor Josh Carlson has been selected as the sixth recipient of the Quad-L Early Career Award in recognition of his significant contributions to the field of learning, memory and cognition. The Quad-L trust was founded at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque by Professor Frank Logan and his wife, Julie. It recognizes the scholarly contributions of one scientist each year.
Steven Donley will not be attending Northern Michigan University’s Dec. 15 commencement to receive his MBA, only so that two graduating seniors he supervises at the local Best Buy can enjoy the morning off to participate in the ceremony. Upon hearing about his generous and unselfish gesture, NMU administrators decided to bring graduation to him at the store on Thursday. They surprised Donley by setting up an NMU backdrop, outfitting him in a cap and gown, conducting a master’s hooding ceremony and presenting him with a diploma.
Liberty Turner from Harrison Township has been selected as the student commencement speaker for the Dec. 15 graduation ceremony at Northern Michigan University. She will share her own story of transitioning through college and overcoming challenges to demonstrate how perseverance can lead to professional success.
“Due to my academic standing when I arrived at Northern, I really needed a school that wanted me to succeed just as must as I wanted to,” Turner said. “That’s why I went to Northern, but I fell in love with campus when I became engaged with the supportive community.”
While some college students seek the fastest track to graduation, Kerry Hytinen of Ishpeming opted for the slow, deliberate route. She earned a bachelor’s degree in writing from Northern 20 years ago and soon re-enrolled to begin work on a master’s. After detours and delays—some intentional and others not—Hytinen will receive her degree on Saturday. She said it was rewarding to complete her requirements the same semester that her daughter first enrolled at Northern, but this is not the end of Hytinen’s education.
Megan O’Connor of Midland will be the graduating senior commencement soloist at Northern Michigan University’s commencement on Saturday, Dec. 15. The communications major and music minor will lead the singing of the university’s alma mater, “Hail Northern,” and the national anthem. O’Connor played a major role in planning and executing the NMU Veterans Day choir concert, which raised $1,200 for the Jacobetti Home for Veterans. Those efforts recently earned her a "Director's Coin" for excellence from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.